There are dozens of different factors that will
influence the success or failure of your funeral home
But the number one issue that I believe every funeral
home owner must address is…your focus, more
specifically your ability to focus on attracting your
There’s an old sales adage that goes…if everyone is
your prospect then no one will be your customers.
If you have defined your target market as any family
within 20 miles of your funeral home then you will
inevitably advertise to that market with a very
unfocussed and ineffective marketing message. That’s a
really good way to WASTE your marketing budget.
The key to allocating your marketing funds properly is
to have a very clear vision of exactly who you hope to
attract with your marketing. Marketers refer to this
person as your ideal customer.
Most people have heard of compound interest and have
seen the financial models that show that even a small
investment can grow through compounding. Ideal
customers can have a similar impact on a funeral home
business. Customers who love what you do for them will
tell others, who will tell even more people.
There is no more powerful marketing force in the world
than positive word of mouth from a satisfied customer.
This is not news to you; most business owners know
this by now. The question is, how do you create
positive word of mouth?
Most funeral home owners strive for positive word of
mouth by looking for ways to improve what they do, and
that’s certainly a good thing to do on an ongoing
Let’s say you’ve added web-casting of the funeral
service. One family loves it and another family is
indifferent. It’s the same innovation but the value to
the family is totally different. Before researching
new innovations there is a bigger issue you have to
You must make sure that your advertising is attracting
the right families to your funeral home!
For most of you, the ideal family doesn’t just use
your funeral home; they embrace the services and
ceremonies you offer them. They don’t choose your
funeral home because they happen to live nearby. They
choose it because they are passionate about
experiencing a healing goodbye and they know that you
can help them.
The more ideal families you attract, the fewer price
shoppers you’ll experience. Once you get the right
message to the right family they’ll not only buy from
you, they’ll happily spend more with you and they’ll
be loyal advocates within your community.
Why do most funeral homes struggle? Because they have
no idea who their ideal customer is and end up
competing on price alone.
So how do you figure out who your ideal customers is?
I could right an entire book just on that subject but
I’ll try to give you a few quick pointers before
wrapping up this article.
Start by writing out a few sentences that describe
your ideal customer. You’ll probably need to split
this into an at-need exercise and a pre-need exercise
since the situations are different.
For at-need, do not focus on the deceased! Instead
focus on the person or persons who made the decision
for the family.
Here’s an example of a profile one of my clients
developed…my idea customer is a busy woman who has
just experienced a death in the family. Her household
income is $70K or more. She has two or more college
age children and comes from a family of 2 or more
siblings. She is active in the local community and was
born and raised here.
This type of information is called demographics. It
identifies who you want to serve and it’s a critical
component of any effective marketing plan.
But there is a second critical component, and it is
called psychographics. Demographics identify “who” but
psychographics answers the question “why”.
Not just why they choose you. Why were they delighted
with the service? Why did they experience healing at
your funeral home? Why did they tell their friends?
When a family experiences a death they have certain
needs and certain wants. All families need someone to
take care of the deceased but your ideal family will
Here’s an example of some wants for an ideal customer
for most funeral homes.
They want to understand how a service can help their
entire family. They want a personal/private time to
say goodbye. They want to let people know how great
their loved one was by telling their stories. They
want a service that celebrates the life that was
lived. They want a ceremony that gives them closure.
They want to feel like a complete family even though
for their first time in their life they may feel like
The combination of demographics (who needs it) and
psychographics (why they’ll love it) will give you
your ideal customer profile.
Once you’ve got your ideal customer clearly defined
you can rework your advertising to attract more. You
can do this knowing that the law of compounding will
kick in and a small investment in advertising will
yield huge returns because your ideal customers will
spread the word for you.
Without an ideal customer profile your unfocused
advertising is definitely wasting your already
strained marketing budget.
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